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In 1993 Bret Hart won the first King Of The Ring crown on pay per view – Bret would be headlining Wrestlemania in 1994. In 1994, Owen Hart won King of the Ring, defeating Razor Ramon in the final. Owen would be in the WWF Title match at Summerslam 1994. In 1995 signs once again pointed to using the tournament to “make” someone.
Entering the tournament that someone seemed probable that it was going to be Shawn Michaels. If not Shawn, then who? Undertaker had been misused for the better part of two years, Razor Ramon departed the tournament before even starting. It left a very thin field of talent: Yokozuna, Mabel, The Roadie, Bob Holly, Michaels, Undertaker, Kama and Savio Vega.
Elsewhere on what’s left of the card, Diesel’s elbow wasn’t fully recovered from surgery, so he was placed in a main event tag match alongside new best buddy Bam Bam Bigelow against the truly terrifying twosome of Psycho Sid and Tatanka. Finally, the Bret Hart vs Jerry Lawler feud hit new heights with Lawler picking a “kiss my foot” match as the stipulation. We then got weeks of promos of Lawler’s manky feet. Lovely.
Quarter Final – Yokozuna (w/ James E Cornette) vs Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon)
Vega had defeated IRS in the pre-game show, so this was his second match of the night. This match did little to suggest that Yokozuna’s pairing with Owen Hart with any less than a necessity given Yokozuna’s shape (Dok Hendrick’s on commentary suggest Yokozuna’s billed weight made him the heaviest WWF wrestler ever). Below average match, Yokozuna dominates the early going but cannot get it done, eventually the action spills to the outside and Yokozuna gets counted out with interference with Cornette, Razor and even Owen Hart.
Quarter Final – The Roadie (w/ Jeff Jarrett) vs Bob “Sparkplug” Holly
One of the best two or three matches of the night, which says very little given that you would probably be generous calling this match above average. Holly gets some good quick offence in early, Roadie gains control and brings the pace of the match down. Decent finishing sequence with Roadie kicking out of a powerslam, before getting his boot up as Holly goes from a splash from the top. Holly did kick out on three, but the referee still awarded Roadie the match.
Quarter Final - Kama (w/ Ted DiBiase) vs Shawn Michaels
A fun throwback to the Royal Rumble early on, where Kama throws Michaels over the top rope only for him to cling on while Kama celebrates with his back turned. Him returning the favour to Kama fires up the crowd. Kama dominates the middle of the match before Michaels finally starts his comeback. The dreaded "countdown" comes on the screen, a sure fire sign this will end in a draw, Michaels rolls up Kama but the clock runs out. After the match, Michaels finally nails Kama with his superkick (which they're just about calling the Sweet Chin Music). I did wonder why Michaels didn't try that at any stage in the match. Decent effort, but the draw means neither man progresses.
Quarter Final - Mabel (w/ Mo) vs The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Oh boy... I've detailed in these pages recently about how the WWF undercut Undertaker at every turn putting him with big man opponents - at least on those occasions he'd invaribly end up winning. This was an awful showing (and not even Mabel's worst of the night). In the end Kama runs interference, kicking Taker in the head and Mabel drops the leg for the win. Yes - Mabel defeated The Undertaker. Drink that one in, folks. Mercifully, at least with the previous draw Mabel advances straight to the final.
Semi Final - Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon) vs The Roadie (w/ Jeff Jarrett)
Given that they're moving the Razor vs Jarrett feud along into In Your House 2, this match-up did make sense - even if it presumably would've been Razor vs Roadie. Short match, down on action and intrigue, Roadie drops two headbutts from the top, but Vega rolls out of the way of the second. Eventually, Vega irish whips Roadie into Jarrett on the apron, then rolls up Roadie off the distraction. After the match Vega does an interview in Spanish with Carlos Cabrerra, Dok Hendricks (Michael Hayes) provides "translations" where he claims Vega is scared to death of losing to Mabel. One of the better moments of the entire night that.
Kiss My Feet Match - Bret Hart vs Jerry Lawler
An underwhelming pay-off to a feud that, as they documented in the pre match video, legitimately started two years prior when Bret first won "King Of The Ring". You always figured Bret would've been able to get a better match out of even an over-the-hill Lawler, but this just wasn't it. Lawler takes off his boot to reveal a truly horrendous sock & manky foot (and I like how they've played off Lawler's foot smells so bad it's difficult to even stand close to him). In the end Hakushi and Shinja get involved but Bret fights through and uses the Sharpshooter for the win. The crowd go big for this finish.
After the match, Bret stuffs his foot into Lawler's mouth, then manages to stuff Lawler's own manky foot into his Lawler's mouth. Not quite the pay-off they were hoping for, and probably not the pay-off this program deserved.
King Of The Ring Final - Mabel (w/ Mo) vs Savio Vega (w/ Razor Ramon)
Oh boy... again. This is a contender for genuinely one of the worst matches I've ever seen. It was so bad that an extremely large "ECW" chant broke out (we're in Philadelphia). Vega wrestling his fourth match of the night is hardly over with the crowd, and once we switch to the Mabel phase of the match it dies an absolute death. Imagine a bear hug that took the same amount of time as it's taken you to reach this time in the article - yeah, not long enough. Mabel hits a World's Strongest Slam but only gets a two, but a splash that follows does. Mabel is the 1995 King Of The Ring.
After the match both Razor and The 123 Kid get involved and, as if this whole idea isn't savage enough already, Mabel and tag partner Mo fight off all and sundry before cutting a half decent acceptance speech. Not good, not good at all. We cut backstage to Lawler in a bathroom, he's necking moutwash and basically eating toothpaste, it's not enough to get the taste out of his mouth. He eventually throws up... lovely.
Main Event - Psycho Sid & Tatanka (w/ Ted DiBiase) vs Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow
If I was being kind on this match I'd say it lack concequence, if I was being kind on this match I'd point out that it was the best they could do given Diesel's injury. But I don't want to be kind on this match, by far and away one of the most underwhelming main events I can recall. It wasn't horrible, but I feel like all four men are capable of better. Eventually, Sid buggers off and Diesel pins Tatanka.
Score Rating: 1.5/10
Go Back And Watch: Entirely missable. The bad stuff wasn't even bad enough for curiosity/laughs. Just an incredibly underwhelming showing. The WWF roster at this stage wasn't great but it should've been capable of far more this. Maybe if Razor had have been fit enough (presumably to get to the final) that would've taken some of the edge off, but everything was a massive disappointment.